Survivors in Utah

photo2Many refugees and asylees living in Salt Lake City have successfully integrated into local communities and economies with the assistance of basic refugee services. However, refugees and asylees who have survived torture and severe war trauma often require more than basic services to help them gain control of their lives and build confidence in their futures.

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As many as 35% of the world’s refugees are torture survivors; within some groups, such as the Somali Bantu and Iraqi communities, the prevalence of torture is over 70%. More than 26,000 refugees have been resettled in Utah since 1983. This means there are potentially 1,300 to 9,100 survivors of torture living in Utah, today. Utah Health and Human Rights sees an average client increase of 30% each year.

Dealing with Trauma

In addition to debilitating physical injury, survivors of torture and severe war trauma have a high incidence of complex, often co-existing mental health issues, such as: PTSD (70%), major depressive disorder (65%), anxiety, psychosis, and dissociative disorder. Many also experience social stressors, such as extreme poverty, lack of environmental mastery, language barriers, social isolation, and loss of professional and social status.

Survivors of torture and severe war trauma need highly-specialized, co-located, comprehensive services that sensitively and effectively address their complex psychological, physical, social, and cultural needs. Utah Health and Human Rights is the only program in Utah dedicated to assisting refugees and asylees who have been most severely impacted by torture and severe war-related violence.  The unique services provided by UHHR, combined with each survivors’ remarkable resiliency, helps men, women, children, and families heal, rebuild their lives, integrate into communities, and become self-sufficient.

Demographics & Countries of Origin

Utah Health and Human Rights serves refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees who have survived torture and severe war trauma. Our clients are men, women, and children and range in age from infants to elderly. Current clients originate from from Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Chad, Cote D' Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Client Stories



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What Our Clients Say

“There is no other place like this where I can talk about what has happened to me. When I can talk about it, it does not hurt so much.”